What you need to know
Project HEAL, a hospital-based violence intervention program based at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, received a $500,000 grant to expand services in the successful multi-disciplined program to address community, domestic, and gang-related violence.
The grant money is part of $8.2 million in new funding for community-based violence intervention programs Governor Phil Murphy announced in February 2022, the largest such investment in New Jersey history. Gov. Murphy also announced a new $7 million initiative in gunshot detection technology and other law enforcement equipment to reduce gun violence.
These community-based violence intervention funds will enhance Project HEAL’s existing infrastructure by enabling the team to access Monmouth County’s at-risk youth, ages 13-20, and provide them with the holistic support needed to break the cycle of violence.
About Project HEAL
Since the launch of Project HEAL (Help, Empower and Lead) a year ago, more than 175 clients have been aided through counseling, emergency financial assistance, legal advice, transportation assistance and more.
As the program celebrates its one-year anniversary in March, several milestones have been met:
- More than 600 individual and group counseling sessions have been provided; and
- Hundreds of instances of emergency financial assistance, health screenings, informing of victims’ rights and referrals to available legal, medical and faith based services, have assisted clients.
According to data from the Uniform Crime Report, three areas of concern in terms of violent crime are Asbury Park, Neptune Township, and Long Branch City. Combined, these areas saw 12 murders and 744 aggravated assaults in the past three years. Between January 2016 and August 2019, Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s internal medical data shows that they treated 408 violent injuries in a variety of different capacities: 107 by fist, 176 by knife, 84 by gun, and 41 by other means.
New Jersey hopes to serve as a national model of rethinking how to treat violence from a clinical standpoint, as well as a criminal justice standpoint. Project HEAL launched with part of a $20 million federal grant to stem community violence, and continues to utilize holistic, trauma-informed therapies enhanced with options for extra curricular activities, career development, and healthy lifestyle options to aid in ending the epidemic.